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Yoko Holcombe Motivates Clients

This dynamic fitness instructor and trainer motivates clients from all walks of life.

By Mary Sanders, PhD, FACSM

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The current study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of water-based exercise for managing pain among frail elderly women with knee pain.

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Yoko Holcombe is a group exercise fitness instructor, personal fitness trainer, and Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) consultant/presenter. Holcombe works at the Big Canoe Fitness Center in Big Canoe, Georgia. She also works as an aquatic exercise supervisor and faculty trainer with Mizuno, a leading sporting company that offers exercise leadership education throughout Japan. Holcombe has also taught as a WaterFit instructor, trainer, and translator throughout Japan for more than 15 years. She is ACE (American Council on Exercise) Gold Certified, an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor, as well as a certified personal fitness trainer with AFAA and the National Board of Fitness Examiner.

Would you please describe your job?

I teach both clients and fitness instructors. During the week, I teach six group exercise classes including low-impact aerobics, Step & Sculpt, and aquatic exercise. I also provide personal fitness training sessions for clients at the fitness center. Some of my clients include firefighters who need to shape up for the job!

On weekends I travel globally, training fitness instructors for AFAA. Courses include Primary Certification, Step Certification, Practical Skills & Choreography, Step Skills and Choreography, Resistance Training/Class Format, Indoor Cycling, and Aqua Fitness.

In what type of environment do you work?

Our Big Canoe community is located in northern Georgia, an hour’s drive from Atlanta. Approximately 70% of the community is over the age of 60. The club has an exercise studio, a cardio and resistance machine gym, indoor tennis courts, physical therapy and massage rooms, and an indoor swimming pool.

What are the most important benefits that clients receive from your program?

Among group exercise participants, the most common comment I hear is that it makes them feel better. They also say it’s fun; they like to strengthen their muscles; they want to avoid taking any medications; they want to be able to sleep better; they want to help get the stiffness out of their joints; they feel exercise is good for them; they want to manage their weight; when they don’t exercise, they feel the difference; and because their doctors recommend our program.

Personal Training clients say they want to exercise but don’t know how; they want motivation from me; they want to learn how to exercise correctly; their doctors recommend a trainer; and their insurance company encouraged them to hire a trainer.


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